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Old 12-09-2010, 01:52 PM  
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With AG, it's almost impossible to get all of your grains to soak properly by using 2-3 gallons at a time. As such; you need a larger pot which is hard to bring up to a boil quickly on a stove and the stove makes it harder to effectively regulate the temperature of the wort. I suppose you can try it on your stove but the things I listed certainly make life a lot easier. I do suppose though that a beginner would not be doing AG, so partial mash obviously is a potential method of producing five gallon batches on a stove. Miscommunication/Misunderstandings abound!

I began brewing by making 2 gallon batches to nail down technique so as to not FUBAR a large batch of beers, so IMO it is absolutely not a waste of time or money, if it's helping you avoid screwing up royally on a large batch. I suppose some people have the time, energy and money to risk trying their first brew on a 5-10 gallon batch, but I unfortunately have none of those things to waste.
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Old 12-09-2010, 03:23 PM  
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Texas
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Originally Posted by 6August6Derleth6 View Post
With AG, it's almost impossible to get all of your grains to soak properly by using 2-3 gallons at a time. As such; you need a larger pot which is hard to bring up to a boil quickly on a stove and the stove makes it harder to effectively regulate the temperature of the wort. I suppose you can try it on your stove but the things I listed certainly make life a lot easier. I do suppose though that a beginner would not be doing AG, so partial mash obviously is a potential method of producing five gallon batches on a stove. Miscommunication/Misunderstandings abound!

I began brewing by making 2 gallon batches to nail down technique so as to not FUBAR a large batch of beers, so IMO it is absolutely not a waste of time or money, if it's helping you avoid screwing up royally on a large batch. I suppose some people have the time, energy and money to risk trying their first brew on a 5-10 gallon batch, but I unfortunately have none of those things to waste.
Ah, the AG explains much

I'm not quite ready to make that jump just yet, so it's PM brews for me. That's the ONLY reason I am able to get away with using my stove. I just can't afford the equipment right now for AG (although I may start by getting one piece at a time) and I'm not confident enough in my ability to do it right.
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Old 12-09-2010, 03:34 PM  
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Originally Posted by phreeq View Post
Ah, the AG explains much

I'm not quite ready to make that jump just yet, so it's PM brews for me. That's the ONLY reason I am able to get away with using my stove. I just can't afford the equipment right now for AG (although I may start by getting one piece at a time) and I'm not confident enough in my ability to do it right.
It is a bit more complicated, and ughhh the equipment costs. . .though I feel more like my beers are my own since I began doing it. The first time my conversion/efficiency was trash, and I had to convert it by adding DME to hit my target. Heh. There of course is nothing wrong with PM/Extracting, still produces excellent tasting beers and is much more personal than using a pre-packaged kit! I liken kits to being a passenger in a car, extracting to driving an automatic and all-grain to driving a manual 18-wheeler. Heh. Not a lot of people can just hop into the truck and run things smoothly, myself included. Though, that would be nice.
And yeah! One piece at a time is the best way to not see your bank account go poof! Though it all ends up being the same in the end, it's a much less alarming manner to achieve the same goal. My bad about the mis-communication earlier, I sometimes forget that not everyone does AG, which is very understandable all things considered (cost and whatnot)
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Old 12-09-2010, 04:30 PM  
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Houston, TX
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yeh i've just slowly bought stuff over the last 1.5 years. I'm up to about $1300 in equipment, so that's not much per month if you divide it out.

I've got a coleman 44 qt. mash tun with all stainless bulkhead/valve and CPVC manifold, a 6 gallon ss pot and a 9 gal ss pot, burner/propane tanks, 5 cu ft. chest fridge for fermenting, immersion chiller and pre chiller, CO2 tank, regulator, and 6 kegs, and in about $200 from now a ~10 cu. ft. keezer to house all these newly acquired kegs. Oh and about 4 pounds of hops in the freezer, plus tons of small things, tubing, airlocks, funnels, spoons, auto siphons, mesh bags, buckets, etc..
All done little by little since last august.

I think next up, maybe feb-march, will be a grain mill so I can start buying 50 lb bags of 2-row and wheat.
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Old 12-09-2010, 06:25 PM  
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Cypress, TX
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I am a brewer

I just finished five gallons of Dopple Bock. It is for New Years eve
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Old 12-09-2010, 08:16 PM  
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Texas
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Yeah, I really want to go through the cost slowly. I bought the equipment to convert my mini-fridge to a kegerator earlier this year and by the time I was done (needed some tools to do the job as well), my wife wasn't exactly happy with how much it cost us.

Once she had some of the cream soda from it, she got over it. I don't quite drink enough to justify having two beers on tap (though I'm changing my mind on that point), so I only keep one at a time and a soda on my second keg.
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Old 12-11-2010, 07:26 AM  
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Houston, Texas
Join Date: Dec 2010
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I decided to go all-grain after I bought a $75 double-chocolate stout kit from a homebrew store in Clear Lake, and after an afternoon of extract brewing, dropped my 5-gallon glass carboy on the concrete garage floor! I said, that's it, I'm not doing this any more. I got myself an Igloo cooler and some copper pipes, made my own mault/lautering tun, and I've done nine all-grain recipes at a cost of about $30 each. I picked up alot of advice from homebrewtalk.com, and I decided to document my process in a series of youtube video's, mostly so I don't forget. It's not that hard, once you have the technique down. It does take just about all day; the equipment isn't even that expensive, the way I do it. You do need a propane burner ($25 at Academy, the cheapest one I could find, works fine) and a really big kettle (10-gallon aluminum works just fine; again, less than $50 at Academy). During turkey season you can get burner/kettle combo's even cheaper, advertised as "turkey friers". It's actually more fun, because you can tweak the ingredients and make a recipe your own. For instance, my last batch was bee cave robust porter, from brewmasterswarehouse.com, and I substituted a different yeast; was amazed at how much of a difference it made. Most of all, it's a relaxing hobby, and I don't feel like I'm spending too much money on it now that I've gone AG. Every couple of batches I upgrade something with the money I saved; I'm working on getting a natural-gas burner next, so I never have to worry if there's enough propane to finish the job. Eventually, I might go to kegging my beer, because after doing this for a few years, it's getting really tiring filling up all those bottles... but it's all worth it when I crack open a beer I made myself from scratch; you just can't buy beer that tastes like mine...

Cheers!
-Mark
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Old 12-11-2010, 08:31 AM  
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Spring, Texas
Join Date: Dec 2010
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I went all grain after about 5 batches. I went with a 10 gallon cooler since i like to do big beers. I do not regret going all grain - the benefits of price, taste, experimentation... However, if I had it to do all over again, I'd go direct-fired MLT. If getting close to your target temperatures is fine, cooler is sufficient. If you want specific temps, direct fired is easier to control.
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Old 12-13-2010, 06:30 AM  
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Houston, Texas
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 51 | Kudos: +11
I brew. I put up the best beer bar thread. Someone suggested we organize a tasting or at least a meet up. I used to host a club a work. I do all grain and can do up to 15 gallon batches depending on the style. This time of year I do my high gravity brews to bottle up for next year. I currently have either fermenting or aging, 1 mead, 2 barley wines, 1 belgian christmas ale, and a pale ale. I did a barley wine last thursday.

I live on the west side in Katy. I recently discovered that our ground water sucks for all grain brewing. I was finally able to trace the problems with my pale brews back to that. Decided from now on to start with distilled water and "make" my water for each brew depending on the style and original water source. I'm achieving much better results. It isn't an issue with extract brews only if you mash.
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Old 12-13-2010, 06:44 AM  
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Houston, Texas
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 51 | Kudos: +11
I would absolutely recommend subscribing to Brew Your Own magazine. I have been home brewing since 1991 and moved to all grain 10 years ago and have learned a lot from the articles in the magazine. Even if you think you know it all, you probably don't and can benefit from the articles.

One thing that I've learned doing all grain is that WATER IS EVERYTHING. With extract and even partial mash it isn't a concern. But if you do all grain, and use MUD water, it is going to cause problems. The residual alkalinity is off the charts and you just cannot adjust the water chemistry to make it right. So I use distilled water and "make" my water by adding in minerals. Don't rely on your local MUD office to get you a water analysis, the only thing they will send you is the listed hazardous constituent analysis. You need to contact the state and find out who does the local testing for your MUD. Get the results and plug them into the water analysis tool on the BrewersFriend.com website.
Then try to balance the water for whatever "type" water you want to brew with, Burton on Trent, Munich, London, etc. Pretty useful tool.
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